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buying guide smartphones Jul 06, 2018

Smartphones are essentially hand-held computers with phones and cameras and many of them cost as much as a laptop computer

When it comes to choosing a smartphone, it’s a matter of lifestyle, personal interests, and budget.  You may not need a smartphone at all, or you might enjoy having the latest and greatest.

I have clients on one end of the spectrum who have tried using a smartphone and then decided to just get a simple flip phone for emergencies and, on the other end are clients who enjoy having all the bells and whistles on the latest $1,000 + phones. I have one client who has decided that he likes his phone better than using a computer and uses it exclusively.  (Actually, that’s probably the wave of the future. Young people are heading in that direction. Before very long, we may only see computers in offices.)

Unlike basic cell phones, smartphones require a data plan for email, web surfing and getting data to the apps.  A data plan will increase...

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All About Printers has a very informative and funny article about printers, by Liam McCabe, Why All Printers Suck - Even the Best Ones

You’ll be gratified to know that printer frustration is not your fault.  McCabe says, “Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and stop expecting printers to “just work” because that would make sense in a world where a touchscreen supercomputer fits in your shirt pocket (mobile phone). Like most things in life that you have no control over, you’ll be happier if you accept printers for the janky money pits that they really are. Most of you are going to hate something about any printer that you buy, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Instead of fighting it, try to reframe the issue in your mind: You’re not buying a printer because you’re supposed to have one at home. You’re buying a printer because it’s (just...

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Sobering Videos About Battery Hazards

batteries safety Jun 03, 2018


I recently received an email from a client with this startling video.  I checked to be sure it wasn’t "Fake News" and I learned that it’s an old story that's been circulating for awhile but there is some truth to it.  It’s just not a hazard on the rise, or very common.  In any case, we should all take heed.  I didn't know this could happen, did you?

And then I saw this current news story!  Your Cellphone Battery Could Put Trash Collectors Lives at Risk

The article says "USA Today found that 65% of fires at California’s waste facilities were caused by improperly discarded cellphone batteries. Many of the fires were incredibly hard to contain as nearby batteries and highly flammable material caught fire in the process."

I doubt that you're taking the battery out of your cell phone, but if you are, be sure to dispose of it...

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Learning How To Convert Old Slides And 8mm Film To Digital Files

Do you have slides from the old slide projector days or 8mm movies that you’d like to convert to digital format?  

My clients, Wendy and Bob are about to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary and are embarking on a huge project to digitize about 600 slides and some 8mm movies.  Wendy asked for my help to decide on the best equipment to buy. I didn’t have a clue but I’m always eager to learn about new ways that technology can enhance our lives and I was excited to jump in and find out.

I suggested that we do the research together and she could learn some tips and tricks for doing research and shopping online. Then it occurred to me that this subject would be of interest to a lot of people in our age group and we should record our research session and share it.  So even though we live only a few blocks from each other, we conducted our session remotely using Zoom so I could record it. It was really fun!

Then, I discovered that I the Zoom videos...

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Beware of Frontier Secure

I hear many complains from clients who were switched from Verizon to Frontier cable service.  Now there is a new complaint but you can do something about this one.

I recently received a call from a client who was pretty upset.  She was feeling harassed by phone calls from Frontier to activate a security service that she's been paying for.  She was told it was transferred from Verizon.  She didn’t understand what it all meant and was very frustrated.  I explained that she shouldn't need to pay for extra security if her router is set up properly and she has a firewall on her PC but I would look into it and get back to her right away.

I called Frontier’s sales department to find out more about.  I learned that it isn’t some kind of special modem or router protection that I expected.  Frontier is just selling anti-virus software and identity theft insurance similar to LifeLock.  It has nothing to do with improving the...

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All You Need Is Love and Wifi

fun passwords security wifi May 05, 2018

On the lighter side of password management...

Here’s a sweet way to keep track of your wifi password and share it with guests. 

My daughter made cute framed signs and put them on the nightstands in the guest bedrooms.  She found the idea on Pinterest (search for "wifi") and downloaded templates for editing. 

If you aren't into DIY, you can buy the one shown here on Etsy and I'm sure there are other ones there too.

You may have other ideas about how to do it and I'd love to know.

Do you use Pinterest or Etsy?

Are you inspired to put these in your guestroom?

Please share in the comments section below.



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A Little Twitter Bird Told Me

Thursday was International Password Day and it's so ironic that on Friday, Twitter warned all its 336 million users (which Include President Trump) that their passwords have been compromised and they should change them immediately.  (A software glitch stored the passwords unmasked in a log.)

I was really shocked and surprised that such a large, tech-focused organization with so many high profile members wouldn’t be able to keep passwords secure.  It’s another reminder that we cannot trust anyone to keep passwords secure and that, we must not use the same password for more than one account.  

In a blog post, Twitter’s CTO Parag Agrawal said, the bug has been fixed, an investigation showed no indication of a breach or misuse by anyone, and he apologized for the inconvenience.

“Although we have no reason to believe password information ever left Twitter’s systems or was misused by anyone, there are a few steps you can take to help us keep...

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Password Fitness - How Fit Are You?

Do you use The My Fitness Pal app?  It's a great app for keeping track of food intake and workouts.  Unfortunately, it has experienced a data breach. 

Whether you use Fitness Pal or not, this story will serve as a reminder of the importance of creating unique passwords for each of your accounts and the advantages of using a password manager.  

If one of your accounts is breached, you will only have to change one password.  And if you use a password manager like Apple's Keychain or Google's SmartLock, it will be a quick and easy process.

Also, see the recommendations from Fitness Pal below.


To the MyFitnessPal Community:

We are writing to notify you about an issue that may involve your MyFitnessPal account information. We understand that you value your privacy and we take the protection of your information seriously.

What Happened?

On March 25, 2018, we became aware that during February of this year an unauthorized party...

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Do You Use Amazon Prime, Uber or Uber Eats?

This week, I had the opportunity to help clients with some very helpful apps and I thought you might like to know about them.

First, one of my clients had subscribed to Amazon Prime for the free shipping but didn’t realize that Prime membership includes movies, music and more!

We logged into her account on Amazon for a little tour and I showed her where to find the movies, and how to select the ones she wants by watching the trailers and reading the descriptions and reviews.  The layout (the technical term is "interface") is similar to Netflix.  (I think almost all of us use Netflix but if you want to know more about it, let me know.)  Amazon doesn't have as large a selection of movies as Netflix but if you're paying for Prime anyway, the Amazon movies and exclusive video content are a nice bonus. 

Next, we installed the Amazon music app on her iPhone and I showed her how to use it.  She is so excited about it.  It made my day!  It's so...

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What Are Cookies, What Do They Do, And Are They Harmful?

Cookies, you've probably heard the term and you might have some concerns about what they do, but maybe they're just one of those "techie mysteries."

By the end of this lesson, you will understand and be able to explain

  • What cookies are
  • How cookies work
  • How cookies help web browsers improve your experience,
  • Why websites and ad-serving companies use cookies
  • How to control which cookies get sent to you

Have you ever wondered how websites remember your username and password every time you visit, or how online stores know which items you've added to your shopping cart or how ads seem to know what you've been looking for? (kind of creepy!)

Well, cookies make this all possible. Cookies help websites and advertisers customize your online experience.

So what is a cookie?
A cookie is a small digital file that a website places on your web browsers (like Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox) so the website can identify you when you visit. It doesn’t identify you by name or by...

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